Monument to eternal love

The Sepulchral Chapel on Württemberg Hill

Historic view of Rotenberg hill with castle, 1685, from Kiesersches Forstlagerbuch. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Robert Bothner
EARLIEST EVIDENCE OF THE HOUSE OF WÜRTTEMBERG

THE DEDICATION STONE

The former Württemberg ancestral castle was completely torn down to make way for the sepulchral chapel. The dedication stone from the old castle chapel offers evidence of this historic structure. Today, it can be viewed in the northern arm of the sepulchral chapel.

Dedication stone for the former castle chapel at the Württemberg ancestral castle. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

An important piece of history.

LAST TRACES OF THE FIRST CASTLE

The stone and its inscription from 1083 bear witness to the first Württemberg castle. The dedication stone had previously been used as a doorstop and was only rediscovered in 1790. Since 1928, it has been displayed in the northern arm of the chapel. The inscription on the dedication stone declares that the Bishop Adalbert of Worms dedicates the castle chapel to Saint Nicholas of Myra. Today, the inscription is considered the earliest evidence of the House of Württemberg, which celebrated 900 years of existence in 1983.

Lithograph of Rotenberg hill with castle, 1840. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Dieter Jäger

The chapel, dedicated to Saint Nicholas.

INSCRIPTION DEDICATING THE CASTLE CHAPEL

A translation of the Latin inscription reads: "In the year of the incarnation 1083, on the 7 of February, this chapel was dedicated by Adalbert, Bishop of the Church of Worms, in honor of Saint [Nicholas]." The name "Nikolaus" is no longer legible on the extremely worn stone, but other sources confirm that the chapel was in fact dedicated to him.

Pencil drawing of the Württemberg ancestral castle, by August Seyffer, 1819, 1840. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Robert Bothner

The ancestral castle before being torn down in 1819.

TURBULENT HISTORY

The Württemberg ancestral castle had a turbulent history. The 11th-century castle was destroyed for the first time in 1311. Despite its reconstruction, the Württemberg family relocated their court to nearby Wasserburg Castle, which was later expanded into Stuttgart's Old Castle. Over the centuries, the castle on Rotenberg hill has been burned down, sacked, restored and repeatedly rebuilt. Among other things, it served as a refuge and a prison.

A PLACE FOR CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS

In 1797, Duke Friedrich II had a belvedere added to the castle's hall, creating an open gallery from which visitors could enjoy the wonderful view. Queen Katharina's future father-in-law often received guests at the castle and celebrated his birthday there. Other parts of the castle were in poor condition, which is perhaps why, in 1819, it was easy for King Wilhelm to grant Katharina's wish of being buried on Württemberg hill, having the castle completely torn down in the process.

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